Bhutan may become obstacle to BBIN

Bhutan’s gross national happiness philosophy seems to have put the ambitious sub-regional road connectivity plan involving Bangladesh, India and Nepal on a bumpy turf.

Concerns over a large number of vehicles entering Bhutan after it ratifies the pact have given rise to many stakeholders protesting against the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) initiative.

Environment protection is one of the four pillars of Bhutan’s gross national happiness, with sustainable development, promotion of cultural values and good governance being the others.

The pact passed the important legislative hurdle of lower house of the Bhutan parliament, National Assembly, with some difficulty last month. The upper house, National Council, is expected to debate it in November.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said the pact will not allow free flow of foreign vehicles into the country but regulate the cross-border movement of vehicles in the sub-region.

Under the BBIN agreement, the “contracting parties” will allow cargo vehicles for inter-country cargo, including third-country cargo and passenger vehicles or personal vehicles, to ply in the territory of another contracting country “subject to the terms of the agreement”.

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